On Meltwater’s entry into Australia

Group Communications Manager for iSentia Patrick Baume writes: Re. “Watch out, iSentia, the Norwegians are coming” (yesterday). Meltwater’s claim that they are somehow leading the way in “more modern ways of media monitoring” is patently not true. Not only did iSentia’s Mediaportal win the Software and Information Industry Association’s award for best media information and monitoring solution in the world in 2014, it has been providing an online real-time platform to our clients for almost 10 years and last year also became the first in the world to combine social media coverage with broadcast, online and print all in a single platform. We welcome competition from Meltwater as well as the many other options in today’s media intelligence market, and we hope that they are willing to invest in the considerable local capital infrastructure required to capture content from 380+ broadcast outlets across Australia, the extensive human expertise and comprehensive client service that is fundamental to providing a comprehensive media intelligence service, and which unfortunately some previous entrants to the market were unwilling to make.

Animal cruelty not an either-or situation

Director of Campaigns for PETA Australia Jason Baker writes: Re. “Is foie gras really so bad?” (Tuesday). It is grossly unfair and inaccurate to imply that people who oppose foie gras production are “ignoring” the plight of other farmed animals. On the contrary, PETA and other animal protection groups spend 365 days a year combating all forms of cruelty to farmed animals, from gestation crates and battery cages to dehorning and debeaking. The true hypocrites are the chefs and “foodies” who brag about sourcing “free-range” eggs and “grass-fed” beef, but suddenly cry foul at the suggestion that force-feeding — like battery cages and factory feedlots — is cruel and unnecessary.

Foie gras is uniquely cruel because it is produced by intentionally inflicting illness on animals. Like other farmed animals, ducks on foie gras farms are only a few months old when they are slaughtered, but mortality rates are 20 times higher than on conventional duck farms. Undercover footage shot on French foie gras farms (France supplies 74 percent of the foie gras sold worldwide) shows ducks confined individually to cramped, shoe-box-like cages with slits in the top that allow the ducks’ heads to protrude for ease of force-feeding. The cages are so small that the birds can only stand up and sit down. They can’t even turn around or spread a single wing. Some birds have bloody wounds and abscesses, others are covered in vomit. Many pant and gasp for breath because their lungs are being compressed by their grotesquely enlarged livers.

Even if foie gras production weren’t so cruel that it is banned in more than a dozen countries, two wrongs don’t make a right. We must strive to protect all farmed animals, and the best way to do that is by not eating them.

Tender cuts

Thomas Richman writes: Re.”Abbott fights the tender war, while xenophobes hover” (yesterday). If Australia’s domestic car industry was abandoned because our high dollar made it uncompetitive, wouldn’t logic have it that the newly low dollar, now hovering at a more than profitable $0.76 and expected to plateau at that rate, mean that Ford, GM and Toyota will now change their minds and keep alive local manufacture?

Living outside the Bolt-free bubble

Deakin University Emeritus Professor Douglas Kirsner writes: Yes, Glenn Dyer and Helen Razer, Andrew Bolt has been “unusually silent” about Abbott’s leadership woes — except for every day in his blog and every weeknight on 2GB. It’s just  lazy journalism to think the world doesn’t exist beyond  the bubble of the ABC’s Insiders, Q&A, 7.30, and Fairfax. But don’t worry, the Bolt Report is on again Sunday morning on Channel 10.